Sometimes I still have ‘pinch me’ moments about my life and career right now – of course it’s nowhere close to perfect and I have a long way to go, but I can’t believe that I’m now over three months in to my journey of self employment. I’ve had a think about my past few months as solely working as a Personal Trainer – read on to find out what I’ve learned during that time.
Self-employed life takes a bit of getting used to
Or maybe that should be a LOT of getting used to! I was really down during my first month – this was something I’d wanted for so long, but being away from the structure of the working environment was difficult. Something I really disliked about the office environment were PDPs and ‘catch ups’ but when you’re self-employed it’s even tougher because this is all on you – there’s nobody out there pushing and supporting you towards your goals, or telling you what a good job you’re doing. You have to assess your work and believe in yourself, because there’s nobody out there being paid to do it for you!
Your support network is SO important
Following on from the above, it’s so important to have a network of peers around you who you can ask for advice and just have a rant to. I’m really lucky to work in a gym with highly experienced trainers with different skill sets – there are people I can ask about programming, nutrition, technique, even hormones, and get helpful, actionable advice from. I’ve also worked to build a network of those in a similar position to myself but outside of the gym – when having catch ups with them we’ll often find we’ll say how glad we are that someone else feels the same as you. You are never alone in the way you feel or think – you just might need to seek out and connect with others.
Other self-employed people are a helpful bunch
Coming from a business where I’m used to paying everyone for everything (which is totally how it should be, by the way!) I’ve been surprised and so happy with how generous other freelancers are with their skills and their time, and of course I’ve tried my best to repay them in kind, or at least passing the favour on. The photos in this post were taken by Coach Simon, just for fun, because he wanted to; I’ve had a lovely acupuncture treatment from a client and will be going back soon; plus I’ve spoken at more seminars held by self-employed friends over the past few months than I ever have done before. When you know how difficult but enjoyable self-employed life is, you want to help as many people as you can!
Your savings may be more important further down the line
I had a pretty decent first few months busy with clients (October was actually my biggest month for new clients so far!) but November has been more difficult with no new clients and a couple of clients deciding not to train until the New Year. As well as a confidence hit it’s meant that financially has been more difficult, so those savings I mentioned in my initial self employment post have come in handy this month. Now I’ve experienced this I’ll be better prepared for next year, saving up ready for Christmas and also maybe lining up some extra projects to plough through while it’s quiet.
Get your business name everywhere
I think October was my busiest month as I was really hot on getting my business visible almost everywhere – from big platforms like Google My Business (if you don’t already have this you NEED it, sign up here) and Facebook, to more niche things like Gumtree. I don’t think you can depend on one channel even if you have a big following there – different people search different places, so to cater to your audience, be visible everywhere you can think of they’d search.
Remember that other Personal Trainers are NOT your competition
You want other PTs to be your allies, not your competition. Yes, we’re all working towards getting more clients, but all clients’ needs and personalities are so different they’re going to work better with some trainers rather than others. If you find you’re constantly competing with other trainers for the same clients then maybe it’s time to have a think about the market you’re going after – is there a niche out there that is being underserved who you could help with your own unique skills? The only person you should be competing against is who you used to be, so always work to better them in knowledge, skills, and how you behave.
How’s your life and career going? Have you experienced any big changes recently? Let me know what you’ve learned and how you’re working with it!